When I was in college I knew guys that burned their draft cards and ran off to Canada to avoid the draft.

But not me  I was working my way through college at the Bridge Cafe on the campus of the University of Minnesota. One night a sharply dressed couple came in for dessert, and as I was serving them, I spilled a saucer of ice cream in the man's lap.

The man erupted in an angry rage, cursing and belittling me. I apologize profusely as the man continued to berate me.  Until I lost my job.

Then the woman spoke up. She simply said ''Thank you."

 

I didn't understand, but the woman continued, "I could never marry this man. Thank you for spilling ice cream and showing me that.

Comedian Groucho Marx once said, "If you speak when angry, you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret."

Proverbs 19:11 (NLT) says, "Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs."

Pastor Charles Stanley defines anger this way: "A strong feeling of intense displeasure hostility or indignation as a result of a real or imagined threat, insult, frustration or injustice towards yourself or others important to you."

All of us have been angry or felt the effect of someone else's rage. Anger is a difficult emotion to tame, but as Christians that is what we are commanded to do.

"Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool" (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NLT).

So how do we deal with anger?

First, we have to acknowledge that we are angry. If we repress it or try to ignore it, it eventually will bubble to the surface.

Author Mark Twain once said, "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured."

Repressing anger can damage your health and your relationships.

For instance, a coworker might have wronged you, but rather than addressing that matter, you get home and lash out at your wife or children.

Once you admit you are angry, try to find the root cause of your anger and deal with it. It's especially difficult to control anger when you feel it is justified.

But the Apostle Paul wrote, "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26-28).

Try to find and understand the "source of your anger." Are you feeling tired, frustrated, worried or hurt and what is the source of those feelings? Or if a specific person has made you angry, try to understand that person's mentality.

James 1:19-20 says, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

When you feel anger rising, call a timeout. Take a break and cool down, and then figure out why you are feeling such strong emotions and how to resolve those emotions peacefully.

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Give it to God. Spend some time alone with Him and tell Him exactly how you are feeling. He can calm the fiercest storm.

Pastor Paul Leavens - Christian Church in Lindsay